Chicago White Sox Offseason Wishlist
The Chicago White Sox need a great free agency period in order to find themselves in contention in 2020. They’ve formed a great core, but without extra additions from free agency, they’ll be waiting another year or two to truly be in contention. There are five free agents that can push the 2020 White Sox into a playoff-caliber team.
The Free Agents
The White Sox got next to no production from their designated hitters in 2020. The season-ending slash line was .205/.285/.356. As we know the designated hitter is a position that is only for an offensive player. Eric Thames is a guy built to be a DH. For his career, he is a .290/.364/.420 hitter in 77 at-bats. Though a limited sample size, he is a power-hitting left-handed bat that the White Sox desperately need. He would fit in the line up perfectly and supply a much-needed boost to the team’s DH production.
Dallas Keuchel took until June to sign his last contract, but that has less to do with his skill and more to do with the qualifying offer attached to him. Overall, he pitched well for the Atlanta Braves in 2019, starting 19 games with a 3.75 ERA. Over his last seven games, he pitched even better, with a 3.07 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 41 innings. The current 2020 White Sox rotation will currently only have right-handers, so it’s important to find a lefty that can slot in the rotation every fifth day. A guy like Madison Bumgarner might have more skill than Keuchel, but he probably wants to stay in the NL so that he can continue to get some at-bats as well. And, let’s face it, he and Tim Anderson wouldn’t be the best of friends with their respective opinions of bat flips in mind.
The White Sox need a dominant right-handed setup man to pair with Aaron Bummer and pass the torch along to Alex Colome in the ninth inning. Evan Marshall had a great 2019 but is definitely a candidate to regress in 2020 and probably would be best kept for the middle innings, rather than the last couple. Dellin Betances is a guy that could be a bit of a risk, coming off of a couple of injuries that plagued him throughout the entire 2019 season. He only pitched 0.2 innings in 2019. He would be worth the risk if he could return to the form where he had four straight All-Star appearances. Before his injuries, Betances was considered by some as the best reliever in the game
Marcell Ozuna is someone that would be a great fit with the White Sox. His 2019 stats don’t look great, but his BABIP, or batting average of balls in play, was just .259, so he was hurt by some bad luck. He still had an above-average season though, producing 29 home runs and walking 62 times, almost tying his career-high. Coming off a season where the White Sox right fielders were historically bad, Ozuna would be a breath of fresh air out in rightfield. If Ozuna can replicate his 2017 season he could help push the White Sox into contention in 2020.
If he opts out (and that’s a big if), Stephen Strasburg would absolutely be a number one target this offseason for so many reasons. He’s a guy that could be a veteran presence and share his experience with a rotation full of younger pitchers. Strasburg has had Tommy John surgery and could help Michael Kopech with his recovery from the same procedure. He’s already been teammates with Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Oh, and not to mention he’s one of the best pitchers in the MLB and is a Cy Young candidate for the 2019 season. He hasn’t let up in the playoffs either. Strasburg has dominated to the tune of a 1.64 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 22 innings. If he opts out, the White Sox should hand him a blank check and tell him to fill in as many zeroes as he wants.
The Chicago White Sox can definitely contend in 2020 but need a good winter to push them over the edge. They’ll no doubt be aggressive and fill in the few holes remaining on the roster. Centerfield and second base were big holes in 2019, but with Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal filling those spots next year, they can turn their focus to rightfield, DH, the rotation and the bullpen. If they can fill those few holes with established big leaguers, they’ll be a scary team in 2020.